Bristol Bay Fisheries Report: July 15, 2020

Jul 15, 2020

It’s July 15 and it’s technically the last day to do your taxes! Otherwise, it’s a great day for fishing. Daily harvest Baywide eclipsed 2 million yesterday and the total run is about to surpass 45 million.


Credit KDLG/Brian Venua


Bay-wide daily harvest yesterday came in just above 2 million for the first time in two days. That brings the cumulative catch to 29 million fish as of yesterday. Total -escapement across the bay was 13.4 million. The total run in Bristol Bay is approaching 45 million, coming in at 44.9 million fish as of yesterday.

Average fish per drift delivery yesterday was 1,439 in Ugashik. Egegik and Naknek-Kvichak came in above 800. Nushagak was at 611 and Togiak made a comeback from yesterday at 170 fish.

On the west side...

Nushagak District

The Nushagak District’s daily catch was slightly down from Monday, coming in at 245,000 bringing the cumulative catch to 7.7 million fish as of yesterday. Total harvest is attributed 3% to Igushik set-netters, 26% to Nushagak set-netters and 69% to the drift fleet.

District-wide, escapement was 175,000 fish in the Nushagak District yesterday, for a total district escapement of 3.2 million fish. 

Breaking escapement by river:

Nushagak River

The Nushagak sonar crew witnessed 37,140 sockeye pass yesterday bringing cumulative sockeye escapement in the Nushagak river to 1,142,208.

The crew also counted 45 kings bringing total escapement to 40,106, and 4,628 chum, chum escapement is now up to 107,086.

Wood River

In the Wood River, the counting tower spotted 33,000 fish before 6:00 a.m. this morning. Total escapement in the river resides at 1.9 million as of yesterday.


The counting tower at the Igushik River saw 4,600 fish pass through before 6:00 a.m. today, total escapement in the Igushik is at 171,200 fish.


Over in the Togiak District, fishermen caught 25,000 fish for the second day in a row, bringing the total catch to 128,000.

Escapement in the Togiak was 6,200 brining the cumulative to 24,300 fish. The counting crew saw 612 fish pass the tower as of 6:00 a.m. today, the total is 24,400.

Jumping over to the east side…


The Naknek Kvichak reigns supreme for the second day in a row with a daily harvest of  953,000 fish yesterday. Total harvest in the Naknek-Kvichak is still the bay’s largest harvest this season, surpassing 10 million at 10.6 million fish. That came 7% from Kvichak set-netters, 13% from Naknek set-netters, and 80% from the drift fleet.

Across the Naknek-Kvichak District, daily escapement yesterday jumped to 976,100 fish, bringing the season escapement in the district to 8.7 million. Let’s take a look at that escapement by river: 

Alagnak River

The Alagnak River came in at 130,000 yesterday, bumping total escapement in the Alagnak to 1.7 million. 

Kvichak River

In the Kvichak River, yesterday’s escapement was much higher than Monday’s with 628,500 fish. Total escapement in the Kvichak river is 3.3 million fish. The Kvichak also has a 700,000-fish in-river estimate. 

Naknek River

And in the Naknek River, 217,500 fish escaped yesterday. That makes the Naknek’s escapement for the season 3.6 million fish so far. 

In total, the run in the Naknek-Kvichak District is 20 million fish--the largest in the bay by more than 7 million. 


In Egegik, harvest was 684,000 fish yesterday, making the cumulative season’s harvest in Egegik 9.8 million. That total catch came 86% from the drift fleet and 14% from the set-netters. 

Egegik’s daily escapement was 62,000 fish yesterday, pushing escapement in the district to just over 2 million fish. In total, Egegik’s run is now up to 11.8 million fish--the second largest run at this point.


In the Ugashik District, daily harvest yesterday was 201,000 fish. Total harvest in the Ugashik district is now 897,000 fish, attributed 32% to the set-netters and 68% to the drift fleet. 

135,000 fish escaped up the Ugashik River yesterday, bringing cumulative harvest to 745,000 fish. There is also a 300,000-fish in-river estimate. Altogether, the total Ugashik run is 1.9 million fish so far this season. 

Permit registration on July 15 9:00 a.m. to July 17 at 9:00 a.m.

Here’s the Wednesday-Friday boat breakdown: There are 1,692 permits fishing on 1,314 vessels. That’s 936 single-permit vessels and 378 D boats. At 9 a.m. on Thursday, that will rise to 1,333 boats, 378 of which will be D boats. By district:

The bulk of the bay’s fleet is fishing in the Naknek-Kvichak District. They have 547 boats, 179 of which are D boats. That’s 42% of the fleet. In 48 hours, that will rise to 556 boats, 180 of which will be D boats. 

Egegik represents 28% of the fleet. There are 361 boats there, 112 of which are D boats, and those numbers will stay the same over the next two days. 

The Nushagak District will also stay steady until Thursday morning. There are 235 boats, or 18% of the fleet, fishing in the Nushagak district, 43 of which are D boats. No changes before Thursday morning there. 

In the Ugashik District, we have 9% of the fleet fishing. That’s 128 boats, 40 of which are D boats. In 48 hours, that will jump to 139 boats, 44 of which will be D boats. 

And the 3% of the fleet in Togiak--43 boats--will stay the same over the next two days. 


No update from the Chignik Weir yesterday. As of 5:00 p.m. June 14, the total sockeye run in the Chigniks is 157,562 and 124,560 in the early run, and 33,002 in the late run. 

Area M

Fleet in Area M caught 80,300 sockeye yesterday, bringing the season total harvest to 1.3 million fish. There was also a daily harvest of 193 chums, 24 kings, 8 coho, and 19 pinks. 

Marketing sockeye during a pandemic

Marketing seafood during a pandemic is weird. KDLG’s Izzy Ross talked with Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association Marketing Director Lilani Dunn and Rising Tide Communications Principal Kate Consenstein about their strategies heading into the season. And just a note, BBRSDA underwrites with the Fish Report. 


Weather Wednesday:

It’s Wednesday! That means Weather Wednesday with Rick Thoman. He’s a climate specialist with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Bristol Bay’s summer might seem cool compared to last year -- in King Salmon, the average temperature the first two weeks of July is a little over three degrees Farenheit above normal. That’s six degrees cooler than this time last year. but it is still the fifth warmest start to July on record since 1940. KDLG’s Izzy Ross talked to Thoman, who explained why.


Messages to the fleet:

In messages to the fleet -- a birthday song to start us off -- this one is to Joe.


We have a couple messages to Dori on F/V Independence

Hello auntie Dori,

Mommy says you’ve been hard at work fishing and are coming to visit me really soon! I’ve been working hard at growing! I’m 2 1/2 weeks old and 7 lbs now. I hope the salmon you’re catching are even bigger than me!

I can’t wait to meet you! Mommy says you’re already the best auntie ever. See you soon!

Love, your nephew, baby Peter Thor

Here’s another one:

Your Dad and I are so excited that fishing is almost done and soon you will be home. You may have a difficult time getting your father to accept the fact that Bear is still your cat. 

They have developed a strong bond. I have been putting small doses of Ex in his food bowl twice a day and now he just can’t get enough of your father. 

Your Sister is looking forward to your visit. She has recently joined a new app and has begun interviewing potential husbands for you. She’s pretty excited about one fellow in particular. He’s really down to earth and isn’t materialistic in anyway. In fact he lives with a large group of adults in an old abandoned warehouse. Give our best to Tessa and Uncle Tickle Bunny.

Much love, 


To: Capt. Brent Cathey on the F/V Independence

Hey hot stuff. You know how your Kubota L245 was that hideous orange? I took care of it for you baby! The magenta color is going to show up so much better against the snow when you’re clearing the driveway.

Also, I cleaned all the cast iron and got that nasty grease out of them. Just ran them through the dishwasher several times. Problem solved!

Much love,

Montana Chick

To the captain of the Thunderbird. We’d like to wish you a very special happy birthday. With love from Sherry and Jayden

Happy Birthday Bobby. From the gang at the Igushik marker. Hope you have a wonderful day and catch lots of fish.


Correction: The percent allocations of harvest by gear type are calculated from the cumulative harvest, not the daily catch as initially reported.